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LIBERACE! Opens 7/10 at Theatre Memphis

Liberace! will open July 10 and run until July 26, 2015, in the Next Stage at Theatre Memphis as a Summer Showcase performance. Featuring Gary Beard as the title character, this moving and highly entertaining tribute to the performer and musician famous for his charm, glitz, and glamour relives the highs (and lows) of Liberace's prolific life revealing the real person behind the persona. Interwoven with a rollicking piano score spanning classical and popular music from Chopin to "Chopsticks," and Rachmaninoff to Ragtime, this solo-performer production will have the audiences cheering the life of a unique American icon.

Liberace! is performed as a solo act by veteran musician Gary Beard who has served as Music Director and consultant to Theatre Memphis over the past decade. He recently retired from Lindenwood Christian Church after 37 years of service there as Director of Music and Artist in Residence. Beard most recently served as Music Director at Theatre Memphis for two shows in the 2014-15 season, Tintypes and The Boy from Oz.

On playing such an iconic character as Liberace, Beard relates, "The biggest challenge is that he was such a unique character and performer. His playing style was flashy, but it was also good. He also had a very unique and affected speaking voice, and though I'm not trying to 'be' him, I think the character has to have some of that in order to portray Liberace."

Director Bennett Wood says directing Beard; is a real treat. "We have worked harmoniously on so many shows as stage director and music director that we have a totally comfortable collaboration. I totally trust his musical expertise, he totally trusts my theatricality." Wood continues, "The script as written calls for both presentation and impersonation, Gary is adept at both. Our principle work has been on showing the conflict in him between the artist and the entertainer. This is the spine of the play."

Theatre Memphis Executive Producer Debbie Litch exhaults, "Gary is the perfect person to portray a musical icon like Liberace ... the charm, technique and entertaining ability come naturally to Gary. I am so thrilled to be able to showcase a Memphis legend playing a true national treasure. This show will be all about entertainment!"

This Summer Showcase show is listed as a part of the 2015-2016 season but is not a part of the season membership. However, all season members will receive a discount on adult full price tickets. A preview performance is being held on July 9, 2015, to benefit Theatre Memphis' artistic endeavors. The price is $100 per person ($50 tax deductible) and the evening will include a cocktail buffet at 6:30pm with the performance to follow.

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